Highlights of Russia’s Kuril Islands
THE PACIFIC RING OF FIRE
Stretching from Russia’s Kamchatka Peninsula south to Hokkaido in Japan, the Kuril Islands are a stunning necklace of volcanic islands forged by the Pacific Ring of Fire. Swept by politics and war, and wreathed in North Pacific mists, the wildlife that emerges from this wonderland is like no other.
Over 160 volcanoes, 40 of which are active today, form the 56 islands and many islets of the Kuril Islands archipelago. Witness the snow-capped perfection of Vulkan Alaid (the Kurils highest at 2,315 metres) on Atlasova Island, and cruise the flooded calderas of Simushir and Yankicha.
Explore the megaherb forests of the Iturup and Kunashir islands with a chance you’ll encounter Kamchatka brown bears and Russian grizzlies. Ten percent of the Kuril population have a silver tinted head and chest which, it is believed, has evolved over time to give them an advantage when salmon fishing.
Located between Atlasova and Onekotan is the Second Kuril Strait, home to the highest density of sea otters in the Kurils. You’ll see these truly captivating curious sea critters cracking shellfish on their chests with a stone, or ferrying pups on their bellies.
A world of intrigue
A Your expert Discovery Team will steer their Zodiacs within the narrow openings of Broutana Bay, a sunken caldera on the north coast of Simushir. Explore the remains of a top-secret Soviet submarine base, home to thousands of people.
From Matua Island to the Chirpoy Islands, admire abundant and diverse birdlife. Up to 14 species of auk, including parakeets, whiskered and rhinoceros auklets, tufted and horned puffins and spectacled guillemots are just a few birds along the Kuril Island flyway.
Yankicha island is a sacred place for the indigenous Ainu people, with steep emerald walls surrounding a flooded caldera and inner isles accessible by Zodiac. Embark on hikes for stunning vistas and sightings of Arctic foxes, as well as the Middendorff’s grasshopper warbler and millions of seabirds returning to their nests at sunset.
Deep ocean trenches around the Kurils create perfect conditions for whales. Just off Paramuishir Island, the aptly named Krasheninnikova (Whale) Bay is a favoured feeding ground for orcas, grey whales and humpbacks, as well as beaked, fin and sperm whales.
History on display
From the Ainu culture on the island of Shiashkotan and the remains of a Soviet gulag on Atlasova, to Japan’s WWII bunkers on Urup and the remnants of a Japanese commander’s residence on Matua, history is yours to witness.
A Russian welcome to the village of Kurilsk on Iturup, soak in hot springs, visit Ilya Muromets, at a 141 metres, one of Russia’s highest waterfalls, or delight in sea lions and fur seals playing amongst coastal kelp.
Forged by fire, swept by sea
Cruise by Zodiac the volcanic coasts of the Kuril Islands, with pumice cliffs, sea stacks, archways and the UNESCO World Heritage site, Cape Stolbchaty on Kunashir where you can walk stunning basalt columns that form tessellated terraces of hexagons.
Why not experience this for yourself and take advantage of our exclusive offers:
- SUPER EARLYBIRD OFFER Save up to 20%
- Free Private Door-to-Door Chauffeur Transfers
- Includes an exclusive £200pp Double Loyalty Discount
Book by 31 July 2021
16-Day Fire & Ocean: Russia's Kamchatka & The Kurils
Vladivostok > Otaru Departs: 7 June 2023
Was from £14,795 per person
Now from £12,475 per person
Price shown includes double loyalty discount. Super Earlybird Offer: Strictly limited suites available on set departures, subject to availability and until sold out. Full payment is due 12 months prior to departure, and offers cannot be combined with any other offer. Offers are valid for new bookings only. Quote WONDER200 at the time of booking to receive these offers.